Feeding the Soul: ‘If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On’ Captivates Hearts

by Renee Koch

Robert St. John, a well-known figure in the culinary and music scenes, recently shared an insightful reflection on how deeply food and music are intertwined in his life, demonstrating that the experience of eating can often evoke powerful musical memories, and vice versa. St. John’s narrative begins in his childhood home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where his early interaction with music, particularly through a gifted Beatles record, opened the door to a lifelong love affair with music. This passion for music was not only limited to listening but also manifested in his exploration of music through record stores and the desire to play instruments—despite the challenges he faced with a conservative piano teacher, Mrs. Huthmaker.

The music didn’t just stop with personal enjoyment; it extended into his professional life. St. John reminisced about his days as a disc jockey, a role he cherished despite its low pay, highlighting the sheer joy he found in sharing music with others. It is interesting to note the evolution of St. John’s musical tastes, paralleling changes in his culinary preferences, underscoring how both music and food reflect the transformative journey of his life.

One of the most captivating aspects of St. John’s story is his description of how specific dishes can trigger musical memories, and how songs can transport him back to specific culinary moments. This unique sensory interplay underscores the potent connection between music and food in memory and experience. St. John humorously notes his “Grateful Dead foods” – items he initially didn’t like, comparing them to the popular band he never cared for, though admitting that just as his taste in music has expanded over the years, so has his palate.

The fusion of food and music in St. John’s life is not just theoretical but also practical, as seen in his shared recipe for Spinach Flan, inspired by a dish from Cibreo in Florence, Italy. The recipe serves as a tangible representation of how St. John translates his experiences and inspirations into culinary creations. This light, vegetarian dish, accompanied by a roasted tomato coulis, demonstrates the delicate balance and attention to detail that characterizes St. John’s approach to food, echoing the intricate and evocative nature of music.

St. John’s story is a testament to the powerful impact that music and food can have on one’s life, shaping personal and professional paths, and influencing taste and preferences over time. His narrative not only highlights his passion for both realms but also serves as a reminder of the universal language of music and food in creating and evoking memories. As St. John continues to navigate the world of culinary arts, it’s clear that music will remain an integral part of his journey, continually informing and enhancing his creative endeavors.


You may also like